Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 3 years, 6 months, 13 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: 2nd District - Wabash
District of Incident (Present Day): 002 - Wentworth
Cause of Death: Gunfire - Enemy
Age at Time of Death: 25
Date of Birth: 17 May 1943
Date of Appointment: 14 Jun 1965
Date of Incident: 27 Dec 1968
End of Watch: 27 Dec 1968
Date of Interment: 30 Dec 1968
Cemetery: St. Mary Catholic Cemetery - Evergreen Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Lot W1/2 45, Block --, Section KC
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-4
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 8
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 18
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 26-E: 2
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Joseph Francis Ferguson, Sr., Star #6892, aged 25 years, was a 3 year, 6 month, 13 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the 2nd District – Wabash.
On December 27, 1968, at 3:50 p.m., Officer Ferguson and his partner, Patrolman Daniel Cambric were working beat 202. While on patrol they stopped three men, Ralph Bellamy, age 33, Calvin Hayden, age 39 and Allen Sanders, age 40, at 3834 South Indiana Avenue to question them. The officers recognized one man as a parolee and another as a narcotics user. They searched all three and released Bellamy and continued to search the remaining two men. Sanders claimed that he was not associated with the other two men and was on his way to work at a barbershop. During the search of Allen Sanders a .32 caliber revolver was found in his coat pocket. Sanders was placed under arrest and taken to the squad car. Just then Bellamy returned to the scene with a handgun he obtained at a nearby barbershop. Bellamy told Sanders to “get their guns.“ The patrolmen were disarmed by Sanders and ordered to enter their patrol car with the offenders. Officer Cambric then drew his concealed backup weapon and a gun battle ensued. As Cambric drew his weapon, Sanders saw him doing it and yelled “look out. He’s got a gun.“ Bellamy and Sanders immediately started shooting at Officer Cambric as he dove for cover. Officer Cambric would later testify that after he dove for cover he saw Bellamy standing over Officer Ferguson with two guns pointed at his back. The gunmen then fled the scene. In all six shots were exchanged during the gunfight. Officer Ferguson was shot four times in the face, neck, left arm and abdomen. He was transported to Michael Reese Hospital by beat 273 where he was pronounced dead at 10:25 p.m. on December 27, 1968. Officer Cambric suffered minor shrapnel wounds and recovered.
Following the incident a large manhunt for Bellamy, Hayden and Sanders was conducted. On December 29, 1968, Sanders was apprehended at his apartment and charged with first degree murder. Hayden was found three weeks later beaten to death on the south side. In February, 1970, Bellamy was captured and also charged with first degree murder. In March, 1970, Bellamy was found guilty and sentenced to 199 years in prison during a separate trial. On December 4, 1970, Sanders was found guilty during a jury trial and on December 30, 1970, he was sentenced to 70 to 100 years in prison for the murder of Officer Ferguson. Sanders was also sentenced to serve a consecutive sentence of 15 to 30 years for the attempted murder of Officer Cambric. Bellamy later died in prison.
Officer Ferguson was waked at Kenny Brothers Funeral Home located at 5438 South Halsted Street. His funeral mass was held at Visitation Catholic Church located at 843 West Garfield Boulevard. He was laid to rest on December 30, 1968 in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, 3801 West 87th Street, Evergreen Park, Illinois. His grave is located in Lot W1/2 45, Block –, Section KC.
Patrolman Joseph Francis Ferguson, Sr., born May 17, 1943, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on June 14, 1965. He earned 1 Award of Valor (Posthumously), 1 Blue Star Award (Posthumously) and 4 Honorable Mentions during his career.
Officer Ferguson was a member of the Chicago Policemen’s Benevolent & Welfare Association, Fraternal Order of Police and the St. Jude League. He was survived by his wife, Tanya (nee Vegel); children: Elizabeth Ann, age 3 and Joseph Francis, Jr., age 5; mother: Edith (nee Loftus) and siblings: Edith Mary Cespedes, Linda Krasovkis, Ozzie, Robert J. and William A. (CPD). He was preceded in death by his father, Robert J.
Incident Recorded under Chicago Police Department RD #G487763.
In 2003, 35 years later, an anonymous juror wrote the following on a memorial webpage for Patrolman Ferguson. “I served on the jury of one of the defendants accused and later convicted of this horrible tragedy. I vividly remember when Officer Ferguson’s blood soaked jacket was shown to us. This was a senseless tragedy that I’ll never forget, even though the trial was about 35 years ago. I was the first and youngest juror selected. I’m no longer young, but I still think about Officer Ferguson and his family frequently. I hope time has helped the family heal and recover from Officer Ferguson’s senseless death.“